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14 Jul 2020

Thinking Outside of the Physical Self Storage Box


Jonathan Eakin

Cheif Creative Officer

Over 20 years ago Peter Warhurst developed the idea for storage units that aren’t miles away from your home, but instead sit right at your home. PODS was designed to rattle the self storage industry by offering portable storage solutions on-demand delivered right to your driveway.

Warhurst not only created the physical PODS containers themselves, but also the hydraulic lift system that would enable company operators to easily deliver and transport the rectangular units. The concept of home-storage delivery was one that was rarely on customers minds, and proved incredibly successful. Years later in 2007, the company was acquired by the investment firm Arcapita (a deal worth over $450 million).

The question becomes, what happens when you have a brilliant idea to enhance the company you built, but no longer have a hand in?

That became the hurdle for Warhurst who, in recent years, has been driven by the idea that a major component of PODS was missing. Instead of having these large units sitting on customers driveways, a service should be established to house the units while they are no longer being utilized.

This idea was persistent in Warhurst’s mind as it would alleviate a major customer concern of a cluttered driveway, while also providing a secondary revenue stream edging into the moving industry with the transfer of goods. Warhurst came to deem this concept fetchable storage, which is a broad concept that already exists among many industry players (clutter, makespace etc.) who provide the retrieval of your storage belonging directly to you.

At first, Warhurst approached PODS with the concept, offering to establish and sell the technology required to manage the units, but he was turned down. He even attempted to acquire a storage container business in order to implement the concept but was not able to see that deal through.

The only solution left? Do it yourself. Warhurst created Red Rover, which launched this past February in Tampa Florida. Here’s a clip of how it works:

The concept is a fascinating one as it challenges the likes of [U-Haul](https://www.radiusplus.com/keyword/u-haul), traditional [self storage](https://www.radiusplus.com/keyword/self-storage-industry), [modern delivery storage](https://www.radiusplus.com/keyword/modern-delivery-storage), and even the [PODS](https://www.radiusplus.com/keyword/pods) container model, but all while targeting a [do-it-yourself Millennial or Gen Z demographic](https://www.radiusplus.com/keyword/millennial-or-gen-z-demographic).

Warhurst’s historical track record has already impacted the industry, as he was able to rehire some past colleagues at PODS who not only believe in the RedRover model, but in Warhurst himself.

That track record also serves as a platform that Warhurst plans to study and improve upon, as he takes aim at some of his biggest regrets. For example franchising was a hurdle that he was never able to resolve while working at PODS, and one that he hopes can help push scale into the business model.

Trademarking the name ‘fetchable storage’ was also a lesson-learned from his time at PODS, as their hope is to command that market as other imitators may arise. As quoted by the BusinessObserver, U-HAUL lost a $41 million dollar trademark infringement lawsuit in 2014 when they introduced ‘U-Box pods storage boxes.

While the recent developments of COID-19 has been an unforeseen obstacle, Warhurst and his team believe the limited amount of touch-points will work as an advantage for their model and they can maintain a stronghold on convenience and pricing.

Sources: BusinessObvserverFL, RedRover YouTube

Thumbnail: Photo by Diana Parkhouse on Unsplash

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